British abortionist Dr. Vincent Argent has been doing abortions for over 30 years and was once the medical director of one of England’s largest abortion providers. But when legislation was proposed that would lower the country’s abortion limit from 24 to 20 weeks, Argent supported it. In fact, despite his commitment to providing abortions, Argent wanted the law to go even further. In an article in The Telegraph, Argent says that even twenty weeks is too late to do an abortion. He preferred a limit of 16 weeks.
The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is campaigning to reduce the limit to 20 weeks. In the full knowledge of what is involved in late-term abortions, and the widespread distaste for them among the medical profession, I would go further, and support an amendment proposing 16 weeks.
At 16 weeks, the baby is fully formed. He or she has every body system and organ she will have at birth. She “breathes” amniotic fluid in order to prepare her lungs for taking in air. Her heart has been beating for months, and her rapidly developing brain gives off brainwaves. She also has her own unique set of fingerprints. No human being who has ever lived or ever will live will have the same fingerprints, just like no other person will ever have the same DNA or genetic makeup.
Argent opposes abortions after this fetal age, but he is still a practicing abortionist and is pro-choice. He says:
I do believe in a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. The days of backstreet abortions were dangerous and I am glad, in this country, that they are long gone. In fact I would support amendments to the Bill which would make it easier to get an abortion earlier, perhaps by removing the need to get the consent of two doctors.
He goes on to explain why he finds late term abortions so disturbing:
Most people do not realize just how distressing late-term abortions can be. The procedure remains the last taboo. While heart and brain surgery are regularly shown on television, the reality of a late-term abortion has never been seen on British screens.
He then describes how late term abortions are performed:
There are two main types of procedure; the medical type, which kills the baby via medication, meaning that the woman miscarries a stillborn. If the baby is 22 weeks or older, it will be given a lethal injection in the womb, to ensure it is not born alive. Alternatively, the surgical procedure uses instruments to remove parts of the dismembered body from the uterus, limb by limb. It is hard to describe how it feels to pull out parts of a baby, to see arms, and bits of leg, and finally the head.
The surgical procedure that involves dismembering the child is a D&E procedure. It is the most common late term abortion procedure in the United States. Below you can see a diagram that shows how such an abortion is performed. As Argent says, it requires pulling the baby apart, usually while the baby is still alive (although some providers poison the baby first with digoxin.)
The violence of these late term procedures are one reason why Argent says abortion is so stigmatized in the medical community:
Now, with increasing specialisation in gynaecology, many younger doctors are avoiding abortion completely, preferring to go instead into areas such as IVF or cancer treatment. Abortion has become the part of gynaecology that no one wants to be associated with, and late-term abortion is the least popular type of work of all.
For some doctors their objections are religious or ethical. Often, as with me, it is based on a distaste for carrying out a procedure which is so traumatic.
If the procedure is “traumatic” for the abortionist, we can only imagine how traumatic it must be for the preborn baby!
Another thing about late term abortion practice troubles Argent:
Given the nature of this experience, it greatly concerns me how lightly some of these decisions are made.
For every woman who comes late to the clinic because she did not realize she was pregnant, there will be another who feels it is simply their right to have an abortion whenever they like, and feels no need to explain herself at all. A third will seek a late-term abortion because her circumstances have changed. It might be a change of job; a relationship has broken down; her partner is now in prison; perhaps money is tight. For me, these are no reasons to carry out such a distressing procedure.
Recently, one woman came to me at the age of 42. After years of IVF treatment, she had finally conceived for the first time. Yet, when she found out she was carrying twins she wanted to have one aborted.
The situation is much the same in the United States. Pro-choicers like to perpetuate the myth that late term abortions are only done for the direst of reasons, such as a horrible deformity of the baby or a risk to the woman’s health. But nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, a 2013 study from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute called “Who Seeks Abortions at or After 20 Weeks?” found that the majority of the women seeking late term abortions do so for non-medical reasons. The life and health of the mother are not in jeopardy and the preborn child has not been diagnosed with a fetal anomaly. Women in the study fit at least one of five profiles: They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, they were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, they had trouble deciding on and accessing abortion, or they were young and nulliparous.
Late term abortions are so gruesome that even an abortion provider with 30 years of experience balks at performing them. The dismemberment D&E procedure, in particular, is so horrifying and violent that it repulses even hardened abortionists.
Editor’s Note 2/24/19: This article was updated with new study information regarding the reasons why women have late term abortions.